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New poll from Society Advisory shows Aussies overwhelmingly back the mining sector, including Greens voters

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Sarah Blake
The Nightly
3 Min Read
The research revealed a surprising pragmatism among cost-of-living crisis-battered Australians who recognised the value of the key export sector, according to its authors.
The research revealed a surprising pragmatism among cost-of-living crisis-battered Australians who recognised the value of the key export sector, according to its authors. Credit: Thomas La Verghetta

A majority of Australians from all political persuasions — including more than half of Greens voters — support the mining sector, according to exclusive new polling that also shows 82 per cent approve of the opening of new resources projects.

There was also far broader support for the sector than for environmental activist groups among all Australian voters, according to the national online poll of 1500 people by strategy, research and insights firm Society Advisory.

The research revealed a surprising pragmatism among cost-of-living crisis-battered Australians who recognised the value of the key export sector, according to its authors.

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Its results counter a broadly accepted narrative that progressive voters are anti-mining and that positive sentiment for Australia’s biggest resources companies is confined to business interests and Coalition supporters.

The polling, conducted from March 23-27, found 74 per cent of Australians supported the sector with Coalition voters most in favour (86 per cent), followed by Labor (74 per cent) and even a slight majority of Greens voters at 51 per cent.

A total of 26 per cent opposed the sector, but just six per cent said they were in strong opposition.

When asked if they supported Australia opening new resources projects where they have met the current Australian environmental standards, 82 per cent said yes, while 18 per cent were opposed.

Almost half (45 per cent) expressed an unfavourable opinion of environmental activist groups, with 12 per cent in favour and 43 per cent neutral.

This was compared to a third of voters being in favour of the mining companies, 44 per cent feeling neutral and 23 per cent finding them unfavourable.

Society Advisory founding partner Yaron Finkelstein said the polling about the broader resources sector rather than a specific brand or project “aimed to take a step back to measure simple support for the sector and existing approvals processes, something rarely done”.

“We often find that polling about the resources and energy sector is either aimed at measuring the health of brand names or support for specific projects, is highly prompted in providing information about the sector and/or attempts to assess support for change, such as advocacy for new regulations or policy,” he said.

To measure support, pollsters stated that “Australia currently uses and exports large quantities of resources to other countries for use in manufacturing and power generation, such as iron ore, bauxite, gas, uranium, coal and copper.

“There is some environmental impact to mining, using and exporting these resources, but existing projects also contribute significant jobs, taxes and royalties”.

They then asked: “In general, do you support or oppose Australia using and exporting such resources?”

Mr Finkelstein said the 82 per cent support for new projects showed “both a recognition of the need for new projects and a trust in sensible environmental standards”.

“This shows voters have moved to a very pragmatic approach to what they think Australia needs at this time,” he said.

“They recognise the necessity of the resources and the benefits they provide balanced against the impacts of mining and using them.”

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